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Energies 2017, 10(5), 651;

2D Numerical Simulation of Improving Wellbore Stability in Shale Using Nanoparticles Based Drilling Fluid

School of Engineering, China University of Geosciences, Wuhan 430074, China
115 Geological Team, Bureau of Geology and Mineral Exploration and Development of Guizhou Province, Guiyang 551400, China
Chengdu Team of Hydrogeology and Engineering Geology, Chengdu 610072, China
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Dongsheng Wen
Received: 13 January 2017 / Revised: 13 April 2017 / Accepted: 2 May 2017 / Published: 9 May 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanotechnology for Oil and Gas Applications)


The past decade has seen increased focus on nanoparticle (NP) based drilling fluid to promote wellbore stability in shales. With the plugging of NP into shale pores, the fluid pressure transmission can be retarded and wellbore stability can be improved. For better understanding of the interaction between shale and NP based drilling fluid based on previous pressure transmission tests (PTTs) on Atoka shale samples, this paper reports the numerical simulation findings of wellbore stability in the presence of NP based drilling fluid, using the 2D fluid-solid coupling model in FLAC3D™ software. The results of previous PTT are discussed first, where the steps of numerical simulation, the simulation on pore fluid pressure transmission, the distribution of stress and the deformation of surrounding rock are presented. The mechanisms of NP in reducing permeability and stabilizing shale are also discussed. Results showed that fluid filtrate from water-based drilling fluid had a strong tendency to invade the shale matrix and increase the likelihood of wellbore instability in shales. However, the pore fluid pressure near wellbore areas could be minimized by plugging silica NP into the nanoscale pores of shales, which is consistent with previous PTT. Pore pressure transmission boundaries could also be restricted with silica NP. Furthermore, the stress differential and shear stress of surrounding rock near the wellbore was reduced in the presence of NP. The plastic yield zone was minimized to improve wellbore stability. The plugging mechanism of NP may be attributed to the electrostatic and electrodynamic interactions between NP and shale surfaces that are governed by Derjaguin-Landau-Verwey-Overbeek (DLVO) forces, which allowed NP to approach shale surfaces and adhere to them. We also found that discretization of the simulation model was beneficial in distinguishing the yield zone distribution of the surrounding rock in shales. The combination of PTT and the 2D numerical simulation offers a better understanding of how NP-based drilling fluid can be developed to address wellbore stability issues in shales. View Full-Text
Keywords: shale; wellbore stability; drilling fluid; silica nanoparticles (NPs); pressure transmission test (PTT); numerical simulation shale; wellbore stability; drilling fluid; silica nanoparticles (NPs); pressure transmission test (PTT); numerical simulation

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Song, J.; Yuan, Y.; Gu, S.; Yang, X.; Yue, Y.; Cai, J.; Jiang, G. 2D Numerical Simulation of Improving Wellbore Stability in Shale Using Nanoparticles Based Drilling Fluid. Energies 2017, 10, 651.

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